I need three detailed professional paragraphs commenting on the following two discussions. You must respond back to what information is in the post. Ex-I can relate to or I agree with or I understand….
I learned a great deal in this class and can easily recall three “aha” moments that made me realize important pieces were missing in my past experiences with planning (SP). To best respond to this discussion, I reviewed my assignments over the past seven weeks to give me a glimpse into the way I reacted to those “aha” moments.
Aha Moment #1
“Despite my relatively extensive involvement with SP processes in the past, it wasn’t until I heard Michael Porter’s definition of SP that the ultimate, desired result of SP fully concretized in my mind. Porter stated, ‘strategic positioning attempts to achieve sustainable, competitive advantage in the market place by preserving what is distinctive about an organization.’ This is the essence of establishing a unique strategic position, and it makes so much more sense to me now.”
Quite frankly, I am surprised and dismayed that three different strategic planning facilitators with whom JFCS worked never relayed that important context as a launch to our SP processes. Regardless, I will reference it for strategic purposes in the future, but I will also consider its importance in my every day work at JFCS.
Aha Moment #2
“Learning about the PEST analysis in our module 4 reading assignments resonated with me. I am highlighting this specific tool for this assignment because its focus on environmental factors will provide JFCS a formal way to understand where we fit within the larger world of nonprofits and how national and local trends affect our work. The tool will enable me, as a leader, to keep these factors in the forefront of my mind on a regular basis, and it will serve JFCS well when conducting environmental scans in future SP processes.”
Though I have done several SWOT analyses over the years, I had never done a PEST analysis, nor I had I heard of this critical tool. PEST examines the Political, Economic, Social, and Technology environmental factors. When looking into this tool further, I learned about two other components that are equally critical—Legal and Environmental. Not only are these elements important to unpack when engaged in SP, it is important to monitor these external trends regularly so that your organization can adapt and pivot in a timely and effective manner.
Aha Moment #3
This “aha” moment came with reading the module seven materials about formalizing and adopting the strategic plan. While my organization has executed strategic plans in the past, we did not complete the proper steps to ensure that changes, stakeholders, risks, and communications were managed in an effective and optimal way. As a result, and as I mentioned in last week’s discussion, JFCS had some negative consequences when opening our new Enrichment Center because we were not proactive about formalizing this long-term sustainability plan. This is something that will stay with me as I move forward in my career, and something I shared with my CEO to help our executive team in our efforts to strengthen our organization’s cultural competency.
The material covered and discussions had in this course no doubt helped to build on my personal experience with strategic planning and will be applied to future opportunities I may have to participate in developing a strategic plan. Some important takeaways for me from this course are listed below: Stakeholder Management. While I understood that stakeholders should have input in strategic planning process from my previous experience, this course has helped me to better conceptualize the rationale and importance behind not only stakeholder input and involvement, but investment into the strategic planning process. Additionally, this course helped me to identify the activities that helped inform and guide the strategic planning process and the rationales behind their use, such as stakeholder analysis activities that bring to the surface what each stakeholder gives and takes from the relationship. Internal Analysis. My strategic planning experience provided me with the opportunity to participate in an internal analysis of an organization and the associated activities, but this course helped me to identify and understand elements of change and circumstances that motivate an organization to engage in the strategic planning process and mechanisms and tools to yield the information that can best inform the strategic plan.External Analysis. This course helped me to understand that my experience in strategic planning lacked in executing a strong and comprehensive analysis of external factors. While the internal analysis was conducted with vigor (even yielding some “unpalatable” results for some of the leadership) the external analysis was merely a summation of what leadership perceived to be the state of external affairs, with little or no effort into developing an educated projection on what external factors might be subject to flux or change.Barriers and Challenges. This course confirmed and in some ways normalized my experience with strategic planning with respect to some of the major barriers to implementing and realizing a strategic plan. Specifically challenges related to honest communication, defensiveness, resistance to change and funding constraints. The best organizations are able to create a culture of perpetual improvement and tolerance for change and constructive feedback and discussion.
5.Nonprofit/Strategic Planning Consultant. Employing a nonprofit consultant in your strategic planning efforts helps immensely with gathering candid feedback from stakeholders, ensuring participation from multiple levels of the organization and providing an objective and unbiased perspective.